After winning the Rivals Week Cup for the fifth consecutive year, the Semiahmoo Totems senior boys basketball team is hoping to carry that momentum into the holiday season and beyond.
The Totems – who began the 4A season ranked inside the provincial top 10 and were an honorable mention on the most recent list earlier this month – won both their Rivals Week games this week, the only team of the three involved to do so.
On Monday, they defeated the Earl Marriott Mariners 93-53 at Semiahmoo Secondary, and Tuesday at Elgin Park Secondary beat the Elgin Park Orcas 113-44.
On Wednesday afternoon, Earl Marriott defeated Elgin Park 68-30 to wrap up the series.
The annual three-team series – which pits the senior boys teams from South Surrey’s public schools against one another – began five years ago as a way to increase school spirit while also promoting some of community’s top players.
Semiahmoo won the inaugural tournament and has yet to cede control of the trophy in the four years since. Last year, they also went undefeated.
“It’s something our guys look forward to every year,” said Lefurgy, who was one of the creators of the Rivals Week concept five years ago.
“We always say to the boys that we have to be the best team in our area if we want to get to provincials.”
Totems’ point guard Brian Wallack led the Totems in both wins this week, scoring 34 points against Marriott and 25 against the Orcas.
“He’s kind of our leader most of the time,” said Semiahmoo head coach Ed Lefurgy.
With success at the BC 4A Basketball Championships – scheduled for March – as the end goal, Lefurgy hoped this week’s contests, as well as a tough early-season schedule that included a trip last weekend to Oregon, will spur the team forward.
In Oregon, the Totems played three exhibition games against local teams – Astoria, Tillamook and Park Rose high schools – and returned home with a 1-2 record; the team’s victory came against Tillamook.
“They were all very good teams and they all had great atmospheres – big crowds, pep bands,” Lefurgy said.
While Rivals Week crowds are among the biggest the three South Surrey teams will see outside of a provincial game – Rivals Week contests are held during school hours to encourage students to attend – Lefurgy said the Oregon games were at another level.
“It’s still a bit different. We have full stands for Rivals Weeek but (in Oregon), the whole town comes out to the games. It’s just not something we get around here, and it was a lot of fun.”
With Rivals Week concluded, all three teams will return to their regular pre-Christmas schedules. On Thursday after Peace Arch News’ press deadline, Semiahmoo headed to Langley for perhaps its biggest test of the young season – a game against the Walnut Grove Gators, currently the top-ranked team in B.C.
Then, just after Christmas, the team will head south to San Diego, where they’ll compete against top American competition at the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic.
“We’re just building,” Lefurgy said. “We were missing some guys earlier because of volleyball – this is our first week with a full roster – so we’re just trying to get fired up and get going.”